Stephenson: The story of Al Worthington, who once quit baseball over sign-stealing

From SABR member Creg Stephenson at on May 2, 2020:

Before the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic pushed all other news off the front page, electronic sign-stealing was the story of the offseason and the spring in Major League Baseball.

The Houston Astros’ scandal — which broke just after the World Series and resulted in the firing and suspension of manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow, among other penalties — turned the one-time darlings of baseball into one of the most-hated organizations in sports. That’s a stark contrast from much of the game’s history, in which a little cheating to get ahead was not only largely condoned, but often lauded.

Al Worthington never thought of it that way.

During a big-league career that spanned from 1953-69, the Birmingham native twice spoke up about his teams using technology to steal opponents’ signals, both times to his professional detriment. The first confrontation resulted in his being traded; the second in his briefly walking away from the game.

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Originally published: May 5, 2020. Last Updated: May 5, 2020.